Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International


Sharing the Slow Food Spirit with Those in Need This Holiday Season

By Kathryn Rogers, SFUSD Board of Directors

430_5003118The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. A time to select that perfect gift from a local vendor for someone special. A time to indulge in holiday libations and decadent feasts. A time to give thanks and share a little extra cheer with those in need.

With 1 in 7 San Diego County residents experiencing food insecurity, food distribution programs and meal donations can go a long way in helping families get their basic needs met. Aligned with Slow Food’s vision of Good, Clean and Fair Food for All, here we share our top tips for how to give back to our local community this holiday season.

  • Participating in the San Diego Food Bank’s 2015 Holiday Food Drive by purchasing a pre-filled bag of food at a local Vons, donating online, or hosting a food drive at your workplace or community center.
  • Joining Feeding America San Diego in its goal to raise one million meals for local families in need this holiday season. Learn more about how you can donate your time or dollars on their website.
  • Supporting our local military and veteran community by adopting a military family for the holiday season. When you purchase commissary or grocery cards for your adopted family, you are helping to nourish both their bodies and joyful spirits.
  • Donating a Farm Fresh to You box to a local family in need, bringing the gift of healthy produce to their doorstep.
  • Honoring your friends and family by donating to a local, sustainable food organization or ordering an organic CSA box in their name. This wonderful gift will keep on giving – supporting a healthier, more delicious and just world for them and their neighbors to live in. Check out Suzie’s Farm or San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project for inspiration.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and nourishing holiday season for all San Diegans!

How Recycling Food Waste is Water Wise: An Interview with San Diego Food System Alliance’s Elly Brown

By Kathryn Rogers, SFUSD Board of Directors

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With no end in sight to the California drought, local organizations are seeking sustainable solutions to address all aspects of water use. The San Diego Food System Alliance, coordinated by Elly Brown, is collaborating with other local non-profits to process and minimize food waste  – a surprising issue of importance in the water conservation dialogue.

According to a recent Natural Resources Defense Council report, getting food from the farm to our forks eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year and wasting a significant amount of water at the same time. What’s more, researchers at the NIH have found that food waste accounts for over 25% of total freshwater consumption. Not to mention the approximately 300 million barrels of oil per year for transporting this wasted food along with the methane and CO2 emissions from decomposing food in our landfills.

water-sprinklers-880970_1280The good news is that the state of California recently passed legislation to begin addressing some of these issues. Governor Jerry Brown signed AB1826 in October 2014, which requires local jurisdictions to have an organic waste recycling program in place by January 1, 2016, and businesses to recycle their organic waste by April 1, 2016.

A forward-thinking policy, no doubt, but how will it be implemented locally?

The Food System Alliance is working in San Diego County to create polices and solutions to address huge gaps in terms of infrastructure for handling food waste. Food System Alliance researchers recently estimated that San Diegans produce 500,000 tons of food waste, but local composting facilities can only process an estimated 10,000 tons of this waste. We still have a long way to go.

Public awareness about how much food waste we are producing and how to store and recycle this waste properly is a critical piece to the story as well. “The National Resource Defense Council and Ad Council are doing a national awareness campaign around food waste launching in early 2016, and we plan to dovetail and build upon that locally,” says Brown.

Ground-level efforts are also helping to educate community members about waste issues and engage them in opportunities to create change. The Food System Alliance has collaborated with the Wild Willow Farm, Hidden Resources, and Sweetwater School District to pilot a Food Recovery Program. The Food System Alliance will also convene groups and individuals for a half-day summit on food waste on October 6: the Food Waste Solution Summit.

“Water conservation should not only be happening in our homes but also in our food system as well by creating less waste and encouraging efficiencies,” says Brown.

To learn more about local efforts to conserve water, join the Food System Alliance and other community partners at Slow Food Urban San Diego’s Annual Good Food Community Fair on October 11.

 

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Update on the Pacific to Plate Bill We need your support!

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Happy fishermen. Photo credit: Sarah Shoffler

Thanks in part to the Slow Food community’s support, Speaker Atkins’ fishermen’s market bill, AB 226, has advanced to the Senate.  The bill must now repeat the committee process, and has been assigned to start in the Senate Committee on Health.  Because the bill is now in its second house, we ask that you continue your support by submitting a new letter, this one addressed to the Senate Committee on Health.  An updated sample letter is below with the new address.

The bill is not yet officially scheduled for a hearing, but there is a chance that it could be brought forward in the coming weeks, so to ensure that your support is captured in the official record we are asking that letters be submitted this week if at all possible.

Send your letters to the CA State Senator Ed Hernandez or San Diego County, Thomas Ledford: Thomas.Ledford @ sdcounty dot ca dot gov by June 10, 2015.

AB 226 Sample Support Letter (to CA Senate’s Health Committee)

Pacific to Plate AB 226

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Today’s catch. Photo credit Sarah Shoffler

From a previous post:

Slow Food Urban San Diego is excited about the new proposed legislation that will help California fishers get their products to Californians. State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation, “Pacific to Plate,” to clarify and streamline state laws to make it easier for San Diego’s Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, and other fishermen’s markets like it, to grow and thrive. See how you can support California’s fishermen’s markets and the Pacific-to-Plate bill below.

Slow Food Urban San Diego and Slow Food California Support this legislation. 

Three barriers in the current California laws and regulations affect fishermen’s markets in California:

  1. Current laws and regulations in California do not define fishermen’s markets so prevent them from easily obtaining permits to operation.
  2. Current laws and regulations do not allow fishermen to clean fish for direct sale to consumers.
  3. Current laws allows direct fresh-caught fish sales to occur only from permanent, temporary, or mobile food facilities where permits are required for each participating fisherman or aquaculturist.

The proposed legislation:

  • Designates Fishermen’s Markets as “food facilities” in the California Retail Food Code.
  • Exempts evisceration of whole raw fresh-caught fish at a Fishermen’s Market from the definition of food preparation to allow fresh-caught fish to be cleaned by the fishermen for direct sales to the public.
  • Establishes a separate Fishermen’s Market chapter in state law, specifying the operational requirements (modeled after requirements for Certified Farmers’ Markets) to allow commercial fishermen and aquaculturists to organize under a single permit holder for the market.
  • Clarifies that food facilities that sell certain products such as whole fresh-caught fish can have an open front.

If you’d like to support this legislation, please send a letter of support (like the sample letter below) to Speaker Atkins. Send letters to CA Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. Some reasons to support Pacific to Plate AB 226:

  • Fishermen’s markets allow fishermen to sell local seafood direct to consumers – providing fresh seafood with a lower carbon footprint.
  • The Pacific-to-Plate legislation streamlines the permitting process, so that fishermen can sell direct to the public.
  • Fishermen’s markets provide a place for fishermen to collaborate and plan what they’ll fish – leading to more sustainable fishing practices, like fishing lightly across a wider variety of fish.
  • More fishermen’s markets means more fresh fish available at better prices to the consumer.
  • Fishermen’s markets, like farmers markets, connect the community to their food producers and the food producers to their community.
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Rockfish. Photo credit: Sarah Shoffler